Fashion Over Forty
3 CommentsWednesday, 3 August 2022
It wasn't until I hit 40 that I finally realised what my mum had meant when she said it got tricky to dress the older we get. Up until now, I hadn't really fully understood, probably because I had youth on my side and I was pretty much able to find something I liked in the shops most of the time. However and a big however, once hitting 40 I have started to realise how much our bodies are changing and how my tastes are changing. My go-to styles that I would wear time and time again are suddenly not feeling that great. Even my faithful black is not hitting the spot. So what's going on?
There are a number of factors to consider when 40+ or even late 30s, quite frankly there is a lot going on! I think there is an overwhelming sense of pressure to feel good a lot of the time when quite frankly a lot of women I see in the shop ( me included) can feel knackered, hormonal and trying to navigate a way through this thing they call the menopause. Each and every one of us has a different path but along that path we must accept that both our bodies and minds are changing. Thanks to Davina for making menopause a talking point and normalising what everyone will eventually go through.
So how do we shop? I can remember my mum saying, if you can't find anything to wear then invest in a good coat. A good coat can hide a multitude of sins, she certainly had her coats, leaving me her iconic camel Maxmara and Jaeger coats, god rest her soul. xx But seriously how can we shop knowing that our bodies have changed but we still want to look and wear the same as we did. Well, there is no quick fix but the answer is to adapt and have an open mind.
Having an open mind means often being able to adapt according to the style and the shop. I know for instance that I can wear a size 10 in Next but might struggle to get an XL over my hips in Zara. It can be off putting, but I know that Spanish stores such as Zara and Mango are cut small the majority of the time, whilst Next and Marks and Spencer are cut generous. I could go on about the differences in each store - I could compile a list if I thought it helpful but the fact is that do not be put off by the size. Never choose an item because it's a smaller size just so you can read size 8 in the label. Also, choose the size that flatters you most.
Often I hear ladies say that there just isn't enough for us over 40s, either it's too young or too frumpy. I would agree to a certain extent. There does seem to be a gap in the main high streets when it comes to serving the core 40 + group. However I think as we age, we need to invest in clothes that will stand the test of time and perhaps where we used to get away with the cheaper more high street styles, now is the time to invest in quality cuts just like we do at the butchers! The more time spent in cutting an item of clothing the better it will fit and cost, but the results will be worth it. A french crepe jumpsuit will feel and hang beautifully over the body without showing any unwanted lumps and bumps as opposed to a polyester mix.
It's not only about the fabric but its also about having vision. I often fall in love with a dress and think I wish it was just bit more fitted here but I bit more relaxed there... The key is to see if you can tweak the dress yourself to make it work to your shape. The likes of Trinny and even Kate Ferdinand all shop on the high street and small boutiques but have things altered to their shape. I'm not saying we all need to head to the seamstress but even something as simple as using a hair bobble can transform a dress. I use this hack many times on a few relaxed one-size dresses I have that need pulling in. I add a hair bobble around the waist, knot it and then it looks ruched and works! Belts can also prove tricky. Belted dresses can be off putting to some and even I struggle with a belt tied at the front, that's why I always wear my belts tied at the back so as not to cut my body in half and give more of a stream line look. Don't let a belt put you off.
I think there are styles out there but it's just about knowing how to tweak them and maybe adapt them to your shape. Even a biker jacket I love to wear but I can't wear one done up as I look top heavy, so knowing this I buy one size smaller and wear it open which really does slim the frame. For some really good honest tips and how to style, follow Trinny and watch her expertise in how to dress and choose the right skincare/makeup for your age.
The last factor to consider when hitting 40+ is colour. Over time, our skin tones changes. Colours that I used to wear, some I find just do me no favours now. It's so important to keep trying different colours as we age, you will find that some new colours suit you whilst others will drain. Black in the winter can often be tricky. I love black so for me now, I know I need to add a pop of colour, be it a scarf or some lipstick. I'm not put off by wearing black at all as I know I just need to adjust to carry the colour when I'm ghostly white during the winter. As we know, it's not only our skin but hair that changes, so we need to adapt to new colours that will complement greys or your current hair tone.
I think if there is anything that I am learning as I grow older, it is to try new. I'm going off piste slightly with my shopping habits now, as I think that's the only way to find new styles and be pleasantly surprised by what I find. I'm also buying when I see it, rather than keep it in my basket for days then missing out!! Running a shop the amount of ladies I see that worry about this or that on their bodies but when I look at them and see that they are perfectly imperfect, I just wish more of us could see this. So my aim this coming winter is to keep all of the above in mind, cater for all but especially those that need that reassurance that when they put on a new dress or top, they will look and more importantly feel good in it. Another less thing to worry about.